The luminosity and mass functions of satellite galaxies versus central galaxies
Prof Ivan Baldry
Measuring the luminosities, and inferred total stellar masses, of galaxies is key to describing the galaxy population at large. The fundamental global property of the galaxy population is the luminosity function (or similarly the mass function), which is number density of the galaxies as a function of luminosity (or mass). Measuring these functions to the lowest possible luminosities is challenging.
The current paradigm suggests that it is also useful and natural to divide galaxies into satellite and central galaxies of dark matter halos. One of the key differences in galaxy evolution being whether or not gas will tend to cool on the galaxy. This is more likely for central galaxies.
This project will study study the difference between satellite and central galaxies using luminosity and mass functions and other properties. Data will be taken from the large multi-wavelength galaxy survey called the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey. As part of this, the VST and VISTA telescope survey data will be used to try and detect the fainter galaxies both isolated and within groups of galaxies.